Tacoma Christian Counselor
Looking for ways to reduce anxiety? Perhaps this article will help. Everyone feels anxiety at some point in their lives, and that’s normal. From time to time, anxiety occurs as a natural reaction to an uncertain future, or to circumstances that may pose a threat to a person’s wellbeing.Going for a job interview can induce anxiety because you want the job but you might not get it, and then you’ll have to start the job search from scratch again. If you’re on a date, anxiety is normal as you wonder whether things are going well, and if this just might be something worth having. A conversation you dread with your boss or spouse may also stir anxious thoughts and feelings.
Anxiety also arises in situations of possible physical threats, like being around a dog and have had terrible past experiences with them, or if you’re walking down a street and the lights are out.
Anxiety has its place in our lives. It’s one of the ways our bodies protect us from harm. The physiological changes that our bodies undergo when we’re feeling anxious, termed the “fight, flight, or freeze” impulse, allows you to respond to danger by running away, playing dead, or having the energy to stand your ground and face the challenge. A little anxiety can push you to perform, and that can be helpful in certain settings.
A little bit of anxiety in certain situations is normal, but too much of it can seriously hamper your life. You may have been so anxious you couldn’t form your thoughts or express yourself clearly. Overwhelming anxiety can drive you into poor decision making, and it can hinder your ability to communicate effectively.
Anxiety can also lead you to isolate yourself and avoid new opportunities and experiences. Too much anxiety can also increase your risk of certain ailments as your body gets pushed to its limits, and it can expose you to greater risks of depression.
If anxiety gets out of control, it has many negative impacts on your life. That’s why it’s important to get anxiety under control. God never intended for us to live under the cloud of constant fear and anxiety. His desire is for us to have lives marked by joy, peace, and the content enjoyment of the everyday blessings He sends our way.
7 Effective Ways To Reduce Anxiety
There are several ways to reduce anxiety that you can employ. Some of these are short-term measures you can use in the moment you feel yourself getting anxious. Others are long-term strategies you can implement to bring anxiety under control.
It is possible to combat anxiety and learn how to reframe your thoughts to have a calmer state of being. Below are some suggestions for things you can try to deal with your anxiety, including the following:
Feeling anxious can be a little uncomfortable and terrifying. The accompanying physiological and emotional changes can feel overwhelming.
Sometimes you can deal with anxiety by distracting yourself or even by avoiding the situation that makes you anxious. If being in a crowd makes you feel anxious, one way to deal with it is to avoid public places and crowds. The problem is that what can develop is avoidance anxiety, and your anxiety over crowds will only deepen and become harder to overcome.
Instead of always avoiding such situations and thoughts, an effective way of dealing with occasional anxiety is to simply accept it and let it run its course. Fighting anxiety can sometimes serve to worsen it. You can also put your anxiety on a schedule so that you don’t open the whole day to thinking anxious thoughts. Schedule a time to engage with those anxious thoughts, such as ten minutes each morning, but then discipline yourself to not indulge them outside their designated time.
Deep breathing can help you address anxiety by countering its physical symptoms. When you’re anxious, it makes your breathing rapid. Your heart beats quickly and you may start sweating profusely or feel knots in your stomach.
Controlled breathing allows you to begin calming yourself and it also gives you something else to focus on. Meditation on peaceful truths from God’s Word can also help you calm yourself and order your thoughts. With sufficient practice, you can bring that ability to calm yourself into everyday situations.
Another technique to use is guided imagery, where you simply close your eyes and picture yourself in a place where you feel safe, happy, and peaceful for a few minutes. This is a way to take a brief mental vacation to break the grip of anxious thoughts. There are several meditation and relaxation apps you can use to help you in this process.
Exercise has many benefits, including reducing your stress levels and elevating your mood. If you feel anxious, address it by going for a quick run or find some other physical way to redirect your nervous energy.
If exercise isn’t possible, do a household task vacuuming or laundry. When you change your posture and do something different with your body, that change in your sensory experience can help you redirect your attention from anxiety. Activities such as these and others can help you expend your pent-up nervous energy.
Address your diet
Anxiety can be worsened through what you consume. Sugary drinks, nicotine, caffeinated beverages, and overly processed foods can have a huge negative impact on one’s health. Caffeine, for instance, stimulates your fight or flight response, and research indicates that this can worsen anxiety and may even trigger an anxiety attack. Instead of these foods, eat a healthy diet of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates, and drink plenty of water.
A powerful alternative to indulging anxious thoughts is to pray. Pray every time you feel anxious, asking God to give you peace.
A helpful Scripture for anxiety is Philippians 4:4-7, NIV – “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
In place of anxiety, give thanks to God. Train your mind and heart to look beyond present or future circumstances that are less than ideal, and focus on the good in your life.
Journaling is an amazing practice for dealing with anxiety. When you detail your thoughts and emotions, several things can happen. For one, you create an opportunity to express yourself and to name what you’re feeling. That’s a great step toward gaining some control over it.
Journaling can also provide you with a window into how your anxiety works. Over time, you may notice trends in what makes you feel anxious, and what methods are most helpful in dealing with your anxiety. Knowing what triggers your anxiety helps you deal with concrete realities that you can begin to address.As well, journaling gives you an opportunity to trace your patterns of thought and speech. Sometimes we get trapped in negative patterns of thought and behavior, and they only become apparent when we look back and see what we committed to paper. When you become aware of these patterns of thought and behavior that undermine your peace and exacerbate your anxiety, you can begin to deal with them directly by substituting healthy patterns for negative ones.
Tell someone about your anxiety
Your anxiety might be something that causes you to feel shame. You may have another reason altogether why you don’t want to let on that you’re anxious. But keeping anxiety hidden only makes it grow stronger.
Instead of dealing with anxiety on your own, share your anxiety with someone you trust. Sharing what you’re going through helps in at least two ways. Avoiding talking about what you’re going through can sometimes make things worse, so verbalizing your experience can be a huge weight off your shoulders.
Secondly, by talking with a friend, family member, counselor, or a trusted spiritual leader, you create room to be exposed to another perspective on your situation. That can help in dispelling any unhelpful or untrue thoughts that might undergird your anxiety. A loved one can help by reminding you that you are safe, and by giving you a reality check to keep anxiety at bay.
Counseling for Anxiety
It’s important to address your anxiety, particularly if it has negative impacts in your life. If your anxiety produces thoughts of hopelessness, undermines your ability to function in daily life, or begins to control your life, it’s a good idea to reach out to a Christian counselor to discover additional, more effective ways to reduce anxiety.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one of the ways to reduce anxiety. CBT is an amazing resource you can use to deal with excessive worry. Whether through individual or group counseling, you’ll learn to recognize and understand your anxiety. You can avoid the pitfall of criticizing yourself for feeling anxious.
If you pursue counseling for anxiety, your counselor can help you with identifying effective ways to reduce anxiety and move past the exhaustion that comes from excessive anxiety. Your anxiety is manageable and able to be overcome. Reach out today and make an appointment to receive help from a counselor who is well-versed in anxiety and can help you reclaim joy and peace.
“Smiling Woman”, Courtesy of Felix Rostig, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Out for a Walk”, Courtesy of Jonas Jaeken, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Friends”, Courtesy of Jarritos Mexican Soda, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Hiking”, Courtesy of Adam Thomas, Unsplash.com, CC0 License
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